How a travel agency ‘kick started’ the Chinese travel trend in Indonesia

With rising disposable incomes and a middle class population of over 350 million Chinese seeking new and exciting international travel experiences, one could argue we are witnessing the Golden Age of overseas travel for Chinese tourists. Last year alone 180 million travellers made overseas trips, particularly around the national holidays. These trends are fuelled by an improved infrastructure for affordable air travel, high levels of wealth and an increasingly international, outward looking Chinese society.

Bali & Indonesia are growing in popularity

In China, Indonesia is viewed as a magnificently beautiful destination known for its diverse culture, wonderful beaches, natural beauty, and the extremely friendly local population. Last year Indonesia witnessed a 10% increase in the number of Chinese travelers, the majority of which travelled to Bali and Lombok.

As Bali grows in popularity so does the demand for quality Chinese language travel services that cater for this unique and different variety of tourists.

Tour From Bali Seized An Opportunity

Tour From Bali (TFB) is a local travel Agency, based in Bali. They have become the top agent for booking travel packages in Indonesia. Before embarking on their successful marketing campaign they were invisible.. they had no previous reputation or awareness in China but seized the opportunities presented by the influx of outbound Chinese tourists.

The key to their success was speed, in China everything is developing quickly with opportunities available to be capitalized upon before other companies can gain a competitive advantage.

‘Tour From Bali’ was the first major local Indonesian Travel Agency to run a Chinese-specific marketing campaign in line with a Chinese customer services team.

To be part of their success for Gentlemen Marketing has been a tremendous pleasure.

The problems facing Tour From Bali

TFB faced a number of issues in China. Firstly they were largely invisible in the Chinese market. As the Chinese online landscape is completely cut off from the rest of the web, they would need to start over again with building their reputation and visibility.

Another issue is the complexity of the market, market entry strategy into China is notoriously difficult with many local competitors, different behaviors, regulatory frameworks, and different Chinese platforms to utilize.

‘Tour From Bali’ needed to jump this hurdle and understand how best to sell its vision to the right, targeted Chinese communities on the most effective platforms.

Partnering with Gentlemen Marketing.. their Chinese team of local experts

‘Tour From Bali’ needed a local partner to tailor and re-launch their business to the Chinese market. They required ongoing assistance with adapting their business model and managing their communications. We put together a comprehensive market entry strategy revolving around increasing the profile of Bali as a destination and the agency as a reputable service for the Chinese visitor.

The solutions

A host of solutions were devised to increase the reputation and visibility of the travel agency to generate leads.

1)      SEO (search engine optimization) was vital to increase the visibility of the site. The first port of call for the Chinese is to search via Baidu. This is China’s largest search engine with 70% of all online research conducted here. This was achieved through creating a quality Chinese site optimized for Baidu, backlinks, accurate meta descriptions, focused keyword optimization, and through Mandarin Chinese content creation. (more information here) 

2)      Content was created to sell the vision of Bali as a paradise for the Chinese traveler. This was shared using the most effective social media portals, WeChat and Weibo. Attractive content was up-promoted to increase its visibility with thousands of interactions on these posts.

3)      We also employed PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing to drive traffic and potential leads for the agency. In China there is a stronger culture of clicking on paid links, the Chinese are less suspicious of such paid advertising with more space dedicated at the top of the Baidu search results for paid ads.

4)      E-reputation in China is everything. The Chinese traveler turns to online platforms to research a destination and the reputation of a range of potential services. Chinese travel forum threads in Zhihu, Douban, and Tianya were important sites for the development of TFB’s company status. We encourage travelers to share their experiences.
5)      e-PR Online Press Releases, influencers proved to be a key element of the campaign, quality PR would appear within the search results and generate a lot of links and references for TFB from other relevant travel sites. Quality PR ‘copied over’ retained TFB’s clear message and value proposition.

How did we do?

This campaign was a great success with 80 leads generated on average per month. There were a whopping 20 000 interactions in forums and on social media over the course of the campaign as the visibility of TFB was greatly increased.

The Chinese like quality at a fair price, and the agent was branded as offering premium yet affordable services that catered to their specific needs. Rivals may well have offered a similar service but they weren’t present on the right platforms online in China. This has resulted in TFB dominating the online search results based on the most competitive keywords.

TFB ranked in the first two pages based on the search results from 25 competitive keywords. SEO is a long-term strategy but typically the highest quality leads come from the natural, organic results on Baidu. This will be a lucrative source of leads in the long term for the company.

The Snowball Effect

As TFB’s popularity grows they are benefiting from the snowball effect (although admittedly there is little snow in Bali!). The Chinese will post reviews and images from their holiday on social media and forums, TFB will have more localized content and testimonials. Loyalty programs can be established with incentives for customers to share their experiences to tap into their social network of friends and family. The Chinese are greatly influenced by the positive reviews from their immediate social circle in a more collectivist society.

We are a specialist, digital marketing agency based in Shanghai, China. We are a purely digital lead generation agency and look to find long-term partners and serious projects to work together on. For more information or if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us.


  • Chidi Ashley Travels

    Thanks for sharing this blog and I appreciate your work in this blog

  • Really Great Success Story. I really think that Indonesia Tourism business is at the “prehistoric” age of the Business. they only are the outsource part of other big agency oversea. they search easy money, are too relax and have a lack of ambition.
    how many of them really decide to target Chinese travellers ? Probably only one “tour From Bali” .
    Just congrats.
    You are the only one

  • Antonio

    Good success story. It is good to see small entrepreneur success too. We mainly speak about Big brands but what this guy is doing look great.
    from stratch to medium company is the most difficult part.
    His website is really so so in English, I suggest him to work on that. He is not active on Facebook , that not good for him.
    He was active, get so many likes and shares and stop everything. too busy probably.
    As entrepreneur, I know how busy you can be just to dela with asking and projects.
    Anyway good luck tour From Bali.

  • Great article. I love it

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